Published: Mon, December 11, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

New 789bhp McLaren Senna hypercar breaks cover

New 789bhp McLaren Senna hypercar breaks cover

British sports-car manufacturer McLaren has announced its most powerful petrol-engined road vehicle ever, named after Formula One great Ayrton Senna.

Only 500 units will be made and former F1 driver and McLaren brand ambassador, Bruno Senna, says his family is "extremely proud" to be associated with the new auto, which joins the discontinued P1 as a member of McLaren's Ultimate Series. It is based on McLaren's 720S road auto and features a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with a power output of 789bhp.

Brazilian great Ayrton Senna drove for the McLaren Formula One team from 1988 to 1993, before departing for Williams for the 1994 season, during which he tragically died in an accident at the San Marino Grand Prix.

McLaren is known for being one of the best auto manufacturers in the world and this is entirely true.

Yet the Senna is still a road-legal auto and despite its stripped down carbon fibre swaddled interior, there's still an infotainment system and a foldable digital dash display. What they indulge in is the Ultimate series and after the P1 and the P1 GTR, the McLaren Senna has been revealed. Performance figures haven't been mentioned but with a weight of just 1198kg, the power-to-weight ratio is better than that of the McLaren F1. The pursuit of this level of performance has led to sacrifices in practicality and luxury terms, with the inside of the vehicle stripped back to the essentials.

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The 1,198kg beauty features a bespoke carbon fibre body as the company's lightest road vehicle yet - a good start then.

While the performance numbers are yet to be announced, this will be a sub-four second 0-100kmph auto with the top-speed well beyond 300kmph. The car's trio of exhaust pipes sit high on the rear of the auto, flush with the bodywork, and direct waste gases towards the rear wing. "Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can", comments Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Joining the new vehicle in the Ultimate Series at a later date will be a "hyper-GT" model, now codenamed BP23.

Ultimate Series models, like the McLaren P1 and McLaren P1 GTR, represent the pinnacle of the brand's range, sitting above the Super Series, which now contains the McLaren 720, and the Sports Series, containing the McLaren 570 and 540. Both cars will be produced in limited numbers - indeed, if you were clearing space in the garage on hearing the news, you'll be disappointed to learn that all examples of both new models have already been assigned owners. You'll need £750,000 to get your hands on one, though such a cash splash can be seen as a good deed as McLaren is giving a portion of its profits to a foundation set up in Senna's name.

The vehicle will make its physical debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next March.

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